Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jewishly Conscious Wedding -- Resources

As you may have guessed, not only have I thought long and hard about various social, political, and environmental concerns about the wedding (see previous post), I have also put a great deal of thought into the Jewish aspects of the wedding.

Specifically, here are some resources I found useful in trying to plan a wedding that is both halachic and meaningfully inclusive of women:
  • Most important are the following JOFA Journal issues:
i) On making halahcic weddings more egalitarian: Summer 2003 JOFA Journal's special wedding edition.
ii) On the issue of halachic pre-nuptial agreements, and other means to avoid agunah issues, see the Summer 2005 JOFA Journal on the subject.
  • Relatedly, here is the RCA (Orthodox) halachic pre-nuptuial agreement.

  • Additionally, I would point out that there are many other relevant resources available on the JOFA website about Jewish marriage from an Orthodox, Feminist perspective.

  • We also found this article, "What's the Truth about...a Chatan and Kallah Not Seeing Each Other before the Wedding?" quite illuminating. Turns out this is not an ancient, time-honored Jewish custom, but rather a relatively recent innovation.

Also worth knowing about is JUFJ's Green and Just Celebrations Guide, which provides a lot of ideas about making simchas more environmentally and socially conscious. This of course relates to the subject of the previous post, but with a particularly Jewish bent, so I'm including it here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Socially conscious wedding

I tend to think of my self as a socially-conscious person, but we (fiancĂ© and I) are not the activisty types (though I am much more so than he is). I buy environmentally friendly cleaning products, but I don’t preach about it, and I don’t object to resorting to paper plates when doing dishes feels like too much of a chore. I think about my choices, and attempt to prevent injustices in the world where possible, but I don’t go out and protest very often. My entire choice of vocation is premised on making the world a better place, but my chosen route is research rather than advocacy, outreach or fieldwork.

Similarly, our wedding will not be the most environmentally friendly possible -- it will not involve local food, and will likely generate plenty of waste. It will, in most respects, be a typical wedding. At the same time, however, I feel that (a) when planning an event I know will be wasteful, I should attempt to curtail that waste in at least some areas, and (b) that if we are spending so much money on one event, it should be an opportunity to do so in a way that reflects our values. So, here are some of the small ways were are doing this:
  • You already know that my engagement ring is made from a conflict-free diamond, set in recycled-gold, and sold by a socially-conscious jeweler. Both of our wedding bands are also made of recycled gold and come from the same seller. We will make sure our guests know about this.
  • We bought (with money from my bubby –her wedding gift to us) fair trade kippot from MayaWorks for our guests. (Toyb’s sister is making kippot for the men in our immediate families). Again, our guests will be told about this choice.
Aside: The MayaWorks kippot are amazing – absolutely beautiful hand knit kippot in an array of colors (so everyone will have kippot of a similar style but different colors) – they will be memorable, and many people will actually use them afterwards!
  • We asked guests not to have registry items gift wrapped when ordering them to be mailed. The packing material generates enough waste.
  • We also asked guests to consider offsetting the carbon-impact of their travel to the wedding as part of our gift (particularly relevant given the long-distance travel inherently involved when you live 3,000 miles from your family of origin).